BBC teaches coding with Micro Bit for every student

One million Micro Bits will be handed out to boost computing curriculum

The BBC is looking to help children learn to code by handing out one million computing devices to British students. 

As part of its Make it Digital campaign, which aims to inspire students to take up IT and tech subjects, the BBC has unveiled the Micro Bit, a "coding device" that will help students learn how to programme.

The devices will be given free to every Year 7 student in the country, with a million handed out starting next year.

Alongside the Micro Bit, the BBC is developing a season of dedicated television programs, including a drama based on Grand Theft Auto  yes, really  and a documentary on Bletchley Park.

It's also sponsoring traineeships for 5,000 young unemployed people, partnering with 50 tech organisations, and developing education activities and content for the classroom and online. 

"This is exactly what the BBC is all about - bringing the industry together on an unprecedented scale and making a difference to millions," said Tony Hall, BBC Director-General. "Just as we did with the BBC Micro in the 1980s, we want to inspire the digital visionaries of the future."

The BBC's Micro Bit

The BBC developed the Micro Bit alongside 25 partner organisations, and will hand out a million of the devices for free to Year 7 students from autumn 2015. 

The Micro Bit is still in development, but the BBC released a few details. Small enough to be turned into a wearable device, it's an ARM-based micro-controller device with an LED display that can be plugged into a computer to start programming it easily. 

It's more of a micro controller than micro computer, and not a replacement for the likes of the Raspberry Pi, however  indeed, it can connect and communicate with the Raspberry Pi, as well as Arduino computing boards, and Intel's Galileo. 

"BBC and its partners recognised that a hands-on learning experience could help children grasp the new Computing curriculum in ways that other software and traditional classroom learning couldn't," the BBC said in a statement. "In particular, the Micro Bit can help learners develop an intuitive understanding of physical concepts in technology and computing, which helps develop complex thinking, analytical and problem-solving strategies."

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